INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of Colts.com can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.
With the abundance of questions in recent weeks, we will have two mailbags each week. This one comes via a weekend edition (here's the Wednesday version from this week).
Josh G. (Nevada, MO)
Kevin, this is my first time asking a question. I wonder what your thoughts are on Luck's new deal. I personally think he is worth the money, but in comparison to the other QB's around the league what are your thoughts on the deal? Secondly, is this new contract structured in a way that leaves us plenty of cap space to sign, draft, pay, a good solid supporting cast?
Bowen: Josh, it's rare you call a $140 million deal "fair," but this one certainly was from both sides. Luck could have likely demanded more money and Jim Irsay said the quarterback "made sacrifices" in keeping some cash on the table. Luck isn't naïve. He knows the business of sports and what it takes to build a team. The Colts do have their entire offensive future pretty much set on multi-year deals. With Luck's new contract, there are not significant jumps in cap hits from year-to-year. The Colts are going to have to draft at a high level going forward, but Luck's deal isn't going to completely eliminate them on the free agency market.
Connor A. (Fishers, IN)
Long time reader and first time writer. I've got a lot to say and I'll try to minimize the wording I was wanting to ask about the padded rib protector Andrew Luck wears in games.
As we know from the past few years, Andrew has often lead the league in QB knockdowns. To my knowledge he's been wearing the rib protector since at least his time at Stanford. While Andrew hadn't battled any injuries until 2015, he obviously suffered with kidney and rib problems this year.
With Luck just signing his $140M contract with the Colts, my question is whether you think the rob protector is doing him much good. Few QBs tend to wear them as they're known to restrict rotation of the torso, limiting throwing ability. As I don't see him in many practice pictures wearing the gear as hitting the QBs are a big no-no. Is he affected in his ability going without protection in practice to having it in games? If it's doing him good, maybe someone in the organization recommend he purchase a rib protector made of carbon fiber with some of his contract money. Thanks!
Bowen: Connor, I'm not 100 percent sure on what sort of rib protection Andrew Luck does use in a game. I think the combination of Luck's input, plus the training staff will have a formulated plan if No. 12 needs to change up any protection he dons on Sunday's. The hit on Luck in that Denver game wasn't too crushing (he's certainly taken harder hits), but I'm not sure any protection would have saved him from the kidney injury.
Jonathan T. (Indianapolis)
How long should we wait for our higher paid players to produce before we look to trade or release them? I notice other teams are getting younger and are thriving with their speed and ball instincts. I'm referring to the defensive side of the ball. The defensive line to me is in a make or break year. Thanks for response and keep up the great work
Bowen: Jonathan, we've seen the Colts part ways with guys after at least a season or two of evaluation. The Colts are trying to build a younger defense with plenty of speed. The offensive core is set. Now, it's time to ramp up the building of that defense and the Colts hope the names Henry Anderson, David Parry, Clayton Geathers, Antonio Morrison, T.J. Green, Hassan Ridgeway are the pillars of that future. I am with you in that the defensive line is a major X-factor for the 2016 Colts. A healthy Arthur Jones and Henry Anderson would go a long way in curing any defensive line concerns.
Stan C. (Minneapolis, MN)
Hey, Kevin! Once again, thank you so much for answering our questions. I'm sure you are going to get bombarded with questions about Andrew Luck's new contract this week, so I'll set that topic aside. Instead, I wanted to ask you about the rookie pass rushers.
Last year, the Colts kept 6 OLB's on the final roster: Mathis, Cole, Walden, Newsome, Studebaker, and Werner. We can assume that 6 is a fairly safe number of pass rushers for them to target for the final roster this year. 3 of those spots will go to Robert Mathis, Trent Cole, and Erik Walden. Earl Okine will be a unique case, as they will experiment with him as a pass rusher but also reserve the option to utilize him as a lineman (likely if the defense pops into hybrid 4-3 type looks as an outside rusher on the line). That leaves between 2 and 3 spots left.
Despite the team's lack of attention paid to the pass rushers this draft, the players they picked were certainly interesting. 7th rounder Trevor Bates is like an outside version of Antonio Morrison in terms of his motor and bulldog-like mentality. He will be a big asset in special teams, boosting his roster chances. Curt Maggitt has a serious injury bug, but flashed some really nice potential in the SEC. And Ron Thompson had some stretches of nice tape from Syracuse. What do you think are the odds for each of them make the team? In addition, how often do you envision any of them getting reps on the field, considering the balance between the need to play the veteran talents ahead of them and the desire to develop a young pass rusher for the future?
Bowen: Great question, Stan. This is something I will be watching at Training Camp. The Colts would LOVE for a young pass rusher to emerge behind the three veterans. I think the Colts will definitely keep five edge rushers and then the sixth spot will come down to a numbers crunch, if there's room on the 53-man roster. Maggitt is the one I'm really looking forward to seeing. He had 11.5 sacks in the SEC as a junior. A hip injury cost him nearly his entire senior season, but 11.5 sacks in the SEC speak for itself. We did see Trevor Bates receive some sub package looks during the offseason program. Also, these younger pass rushers should have opportunities in Anderson. Veteran off days occur during camp. That means first-team reps for the names you mentioned above. My guess is out of the names Okine, Bates, Maggitt and Thompson, the Colts will keep two of them, and possibly a third (also practice squad is an option, too).
Luke R. (Rochester, NY)
I know that this is super super early to be talking about, but going into the 2017 offseason, RB will be a position that the Colts are in need of (For 10 Years). With that said, the 2017 NFL Draft has the potential to be the best running back draft ever. Do you think the Colts should invest a 2nd, 3rd, or even 1st round pick for a player that most likely will be a blue chip player?
Bowen: Ryan Grigson spoke back in March about how he wasn't opposed to taking a running back high in the draft. I think that carries over to 2017, when the running back class is supposed to be very, very deep. I have no problem in taking a running back that high, especially when you consider how big of a need that is going to be for the Colts. As we sit here right now (10 months away from the 2017 Draft!), I think a running back/pass rushing combo would be a pretty good haul early in next year's draft.
Terry G. (Greenwood, IN)
Hey Kevin! How are you? Always look forward to these mailbags especially this time of year when it is slow for colts fans! So thx!I have a question for you. I'm not a huge fan of college ball ,but around draft time I study what film I can find on various prospects. I am really intrigued by Curt Magitt (OLB Tennessee). Although injured when drafted, I like his production especially since he went to an SEC school, and he's young so he should be able to bounce back.I know since he was an undrafted FA his initial game play will probably be on ST. But under Grand Master Robert Mathis'(AKA QB KILLA) tutelage I think he could, with some development ,become an outstanding OLB. Your thoughts? As always thanks for the mailbags and GO COLTS!!!
Bowen: Terry, I'm doing great. Getting ready to head up to Michigan for a holiday golf trip. Can't wait! I hope you and all the fans have a great 4th. Now, onto your question. We had a couple of questions about Curt Maggitt this mailbag (see above). For a deeper look at Maggitt, head here. This is a guy who had 11.5 sacks during his junior season at Tennessee. That is very impressive in college football's best conference. I'm really excited to see Maggitt get on the field at camp. Remember, he missed nearly his entire senior season with a hip injury (hence why he went undrafted) and didn't participate in the Colts' offseason program.
Gage M. (Gladbrook, IA)
Hi keven, I was just wondering out of the 5 best colts games which is your personal favorite? I would vote for all 5 if I could. I went with the 2003 comeback vs the bucs. I think mainly because I'm a huge marvin harrison fan and he really lite it up that game!
Bowen: For those wondering what Gage is referring to, Colts' fans recently chose the three most historic games in franchise history. The NFL will be uploading those to YouTube this fall. If we are talking pure game, I'm a thriller for the drama. I'll go with the Chiefs comeback in the Wild Card Round and the '06 AFC Title game. Yes, that Bucs game was terrific (for those who stayed up!), but it wasn't too entertaining for the first 55 minutes. A game that I think is overlooked a bit is that 2012 comeback over Green Bay (Chuck Pagano's first game missed due to leukemia). I will never forget the afternoon Reggie Wayne had in flashing those orange gloves for more than 200 receiving yards.
John F. (Horseshoe Bay, TX)
I just wanted to piggy back in a question that you answered in a recent mailbag about the offensive coordinator. This is about both side coordinators. We hear talk from coaches and on radio shows about QB meetings, Offensive linemen meetings, etc. Do the coordinators hold meetings for the entire offense a day or 2 before the games to ensure everyone is on the same page. If Luck looks at the defense and reads one thing and Ryan Kelly is seeing something else is it because they are not being educated with the same plans from their position coaches? I would think that the coordinators would want to ensure everyone is seeing the defense (or offensive alignment from the defensive perspective) the same way and to ensure that would require getting everyone together. Doesnthisnhappen with film sessions or are specific meeting set? Just curious. Thanks!
Bowen: A normal game prep week looks like this: practices and meetings Wednesday-Friday. On Saturday, you have a morning walk-through before nightly meetings. Those four days are when the entire game plan is installed (in sections, divided up). The coordinators meet with their entire unit, and each position coach also has individual meetings with their guys. You are correct in that at times you want your entire unit to be in a meeting together so guys can understand how one change at a position impacts other spots.
Brian M. (Steubenville, OH)
I was wondering if the colts have any tickets for hall of fame game or do I contact Canton. I would like to take my wife &daughter, but I am a paraplegic & would need handicap tickets. Also I haven't really followed the hall of fame game. Could you tell me when induction ceremonies & the game are scheduled. Do you think Peyton will be there? We are all big fans. Do the Colts have handicap seating? And how do I go about getting tickets for handicap section at home. I am only 1& 1/2 hrs from Canton, but about 6 hrs from Indy. Which would be a tough trip, so I would need a hotel that's close. Last game I went to was opening game of Lucas Oil,when I was able to walk. I do believe it was a Sunday night game they lost to the Bears,when Peyton was hurt in preseason & didn't play or practice until week of game. I know there were two hotels right by stadium. I would appreciate it, if you could help me out. Btw, I think Andrew is going to have a monster year, to prove doubters wrong about him. I wish they would run no huddle some, cause I think Andrew would be great in it. Sorry so long.